The excitement in the fresh morning air was palpable at Clovis High on Saturday, as Day 2 of the Harold S. Young soccer tournament opened with the host Cougars facing the visiting Frontier Titans from Bakersfield.
The Lady Cougars – and their new head coach Ian Lynch – debuted for fans Friday with big wins over Paso Robles and Tulare Western. Saturday morning would be no different.
With effective passing and second chances, the Clovis girls soccer team dismantled Frontier 4-0, showing promise early in Lynch’s stint as head coach.
Clovis’ first goal came with an unfortunate mistake for Frontier. A deflection off a Titan defender’s leg resulted in an own-goal – and a quick 1-0 lead for the Cougars.
Clovis had a chance to double their lead when junior Samantha Tristan was awarded a penalty kick.
Tristan had her shot saved by Frontier’s goalkeeper Gaby Harrelson.
Tristan would get redemption minutes later when she scored off a rebound over Harrelson’s head, making the Cougars’ lead 2-0 heading into halftime.
In the second half, Clovis again had a chance to extend their lead when senior forward Brooklin Woolf had an open shot on goal.
Woolf hit the post and missed barely.
It would be Woolf’s turn to redeem herself shortly after, when she netted a goal to give Clovis a commanding 3-0 lead.
Lynch was impressed by his team’s composure after their misses and attributes it to their experience.
“This group knows how to win. There are players on this team who have won national championships [at the club level],” Lynch stated. “They have the kind of composure to win at the highest level, and you saw that on the field today.”
For good measure, the Cougars added a fourth goal in the final minutes off the foot of senior midfielder Tiana Perez.
Overall, the Clovis offense looked effective in spreading the ball around and finding an open shot, something Lynch has brought with him in his system.
“We are playing a 4-3-3 system, which allows for a lot of versatility and freedom of play,” Lynch said. “We are a very technical team and it allows our girls’ individual talents to come out. They get to do what comes natural to them.”
So far in his young coaching career, it is apparent that winning comes natural to Ian Lynch.
Clovis High (3-0) will have their next game at the Madera Showcase on Friday, Dec. 13, against El Camino Real.